Book Review

Perfect Kill

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley. I’m providing my honest review willingly.

Perfect Kill by Helen S. Fields is book #5 in the DI Callanach series. Since I read (and loved) all of the other books in the series, I was eager to pick up where I left off. And much like the prior books, this one didn’t disappoint. It’s strange how I absolutely refuse to watch any type of scary movies, but find myself irresistibly drawn to these terrifying books. I think part of what makes them so frightening is that these situations could, in theory, actually happen.

TRIGGER WARNING: kidnapping, murder, sex trafficking, abuse, forced substance use

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The tension between Ava and Luc still manages to persist even with the English channel between them, while Ava is struggling with her own issues at home in Scotland. She’s trying her best to not think about the issues that forced her to send Luc to France, and is working hard to convince herself that her motives were purely professional. He does have strong ties to France, having grown up there and worked at Interpol before coming to Police Scotland.

In France, Luc has his hands full as well. He’s been partnered with his former best friend Jean-Paul, as they deal with their new discovery of the body of a young Scottish man who has turned up in Paris with most of his transplantable organs missing. There’s plenty of tension here as well, since their friendship dissolved abruptly in the wake of a scandal that ruined Luc’s reputation and forced him to leave the country. Working together forces them to reconcile to some degree.

There are two main crime storylines – one involves young Scottish people disappearing with no warning or trace. At least one has shown up in France with many of their organs removed. Since the organs are commonly used for transportation (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.), the logical guess would be that they are used for black market transplants. But I’ve learned early on in Helen S. Field’s books to avoid making the logical assumption. Things are rarely what they appear to be.

The other storyline involves sex trafficking in Scotland. This was probably the most difficult part of the book to read about, since it’s told from the perspective of one of the women. Elenuta is a tough, smart, and brave young woman who hasn’t resigned herself to her situation. It seems like many of the women she’s imprisoned with have given up, and their pimp often drugs them if they resist or don’t behave how he wants them to. I always find myself wanting all the characters to make it out alive, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this series, it’s that at least some of the characters aren’t going to survive.

As always, there are many sub-plots running throughout the book, making for an action packed story with many plot twists that kept me at the edge of my seat, unable to put down this book until I had finished reading the entire thing. I always promise myself that I’m going to start reading these books early in the day, so I’ll have time to finish reading well before bedtime. Somehow, I NEVER learn my lesson. I always start reading in the late afternoon or early evening, and wind up reading until the wee hours of the morning. Why don’t I just put the book down and start reading again in the morning? I’d like to challenge you to try that. These books are absolutely engrossing and I just can’t put them down until I know what happens. Plus, by that point in the story, I’m usually scared out of my mind and wouldn’t be able to sleep if I tried!

The characters that I know and love made their appearance, with all of their flaws, quirks, and of course, plenty of witty banter. DS Lively wasn’t my favorite character in the beginning, but he’s definitely grown on me throughout the series. Natasha is back, and she’s just as relatable as ever. She has the honor of spouting my favorite line in the entire book:

“What I want is a Creme Egg, what I need is broccoli.”

A couple of new characters showed up as well, notably DC Swift and Jean-Paul, who has only been mentioned in previous books. I love how the author weaves her storylines, keeping readers hooked from start to finish, with engaging plots, endearingly realistic characters, and the gritty settings that exist in the underworld of cities around the world that most people avoid like the plague. I’ll definitely be looking to reading more of this series.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 20

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